Evil In The Evening (Tarantura TCDBS-6-1,2)
Nakano Sun Plaza Tokyo, Japan Sunday November 16, 1980 Late Show ~ Open 6pm
Disc 1 (48:28) Opening SE / Supertzar, War Pigs, Neon Knights, N.I.B., Children Of The Sea, Sweet Leaf, Drum Solo, Lady Evil, Black Sabbath
Disc 2 (46:31) Interval, Heaven And Hell, Iron Main, Guitar Solo, Instrumental, Guitar Solo, instrumental, Guitar Solo, Orchid, Guitar Solo, Die Young, Encore; Paranoid, SE / Announcement
1980 was the dawning of a new era for Black Sabbath, they enlist former Elf and Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio and produce a masterpiece in Heaven and Hell. The album does well and the band enjoys a lot of success with the record, it is their highest charting record in the UK since 1975 and it goes gold in the US at the latter end of the year.
The band waste little time and hit the road first in Europe and the UK before an extensive American tour but there were some issues brewing within the band. Original drummer Bill Ward, who was battling alcoholism, did not and could not continue and abruptly left the band mid tour. Interestingly enough the first to be offered the drum stool was future Sabbath drummer Cozy Powell who declined the spot in 1980 and the band chose American Vinnie Appice to fill the spot, he responded in spades as his hard hitting style fit perfectly with the band.
The band played a short tour of Japan in November 1980, their first in the country that consisted of 6 concerts in six days and also Ronnie James Dio’s first tour of Japan since February 1978. Tarantura has a couple of previous releases documenting the tour, the first was the Meloik In Japan that documents the November 16 early show and the Stand Up And Shout box set containing shows from November 17, 20, and 21. This leaves only the November 18 show from the Sun Plaza in Tokyo left and what do all these releases have in common, they are all from the Mr Peach archives.
The recording for the late show featured here is clear and very powerful with an excellent well balanced sound and could easily be mistaken for a soundboard recording, it is very similar in tone to the afternoon show and is another Peach masterpiece. You have no real problem picking out the instruments in the recording, there is wonderful separation between the bass and guitar and is a real joy to listen too. The crowd is very quiet and respectful and there is no interference by the taper, obviously they are mesmerized by the band.
The sound of rain and the tolling of a bell signals the introduction piece of Supertzar over the PA and the music crawls onstage in the form of a very heavy War Pigs, in the review of the early show AA states that it was a “weird choice” for an opener and I am in agreement although it superbly played version. Vinnie Appice injects a new enthusiasm to the song and his drum fills are incredible and he seems to be driving the song at times. The band waste no time and kick full throttle into Neon Knights, the last song to be written and recorded for the Heaven and Hell record and certainly one that gets the audience’s attention. Ronnie is in great voice (as always) and the band hit a stride with the song and Tony nails the solo. After the obligatory Thank you, Ronnie says how nice it was to see you “twice today” and introduces the next song and one Geezer Butler to start the song “N.I.Beezer”. Of all the Ozzy era material I think this is my favorite when sung by Ronnie, second being Black Sabbath. He adds a whole new direction to the song, fit with aggression and in my opinion makes the lyrics come alive with Lucifer being the master manipulator.
Children Of The sea is dedicated to the “people of Japan”, the first song written by the combo of Dio / Iommi is majestic in this recording, Vinnie is again playing superbly. His timing is on and he is going for it and pushes the rest of the band and Ronnie is singing with detail and passion, we also get to hear Geoff Nichols add some moody and haunting almost chorale sounds to the songs.
Ronnie gives special acknowledgement to a group in the audience and refers to them as “his people”, they are glad to have him band and performing for them and the band lumbers into a heavy Sweet Leaf. The song is not only talking about the wonders of marijuana but a vehicle for the band to take a break and let Vinnie pummel the audience, his two and half minute solo is fast paced and features his trade mark fill’s and the crowd roar their approval at its conclusion.
There is a tape flip at the songs end, the edit is very smooth and nothing is lost and Ronnie introduces Lady Evil with a nice Geezer bass intro. Probably the most up tempo and feel good song on the record, I love Tony’s solo also, his use of the wah petal gives the song a swirling feel coupled with the nice fat bass. An epic Black Sabbath rounds out the first disc, the band give an incredible version of the song. I read that Tony Iommi was so serious about this song that he did not like any kind of improvisation and would not let a band member play it live until it was perfect.
The Dio sung versions are full of dramatic horror, he obviously liked to sing the song and his approach, while different from the Ozzy sung classic is on par with it. There are signs of life from the audience, Tony rips into the fast riffing section and the clap in time and Ronnie sings the hallowed lyric “This is the end my friend….” followed again by Iommi playing an incredible solo……classic sums it up.
The second disc starts with nice long Heaven And Hell, if there was no improvisation in Black Sabbath well there certainly is during the this one. The song starts out almost informally with a little vocal improvising from Ronnie and a few nice blues leads from Tony, the backbone of Appice and Butler lay the foundation. Tony’s use of effects are particularly effective on this song, he weaves the notes as if he where plucking them from the air in wizard like fashion, and Geezer even gets into a little of it to and for a minute or two it is probably as funky as the band could get. Ronnie comes back onstage and leads the crowd through the audience participation section of the song but they seem very distant in this recording, it almost sounds like Ronnie is employing member of the audience to help him get the audience to give him the response he is looking for, when they do he salutes them with an “Arigato !”
The band play a heavy Iron Man that leads into a nice run of guitar solos and instrumental improvisation, the first instrumental section has a riff that sounds very much like Hole In The Sky. There is some great interplay between Tony and Geezer followed by Iommi just ripping into a flurry of notes that goes for the jugular and then expands it to some blues tinged notes with a slight flair of jazz, there is even one small section he sounds as if he took a page from Eddie Van Halen’s book of tricks. His final solo section has him playing notes in a spiral fashion with heavy wah that sounds very Hendrix inspired that leads into one of my favorite Iommi pieces from Master Of Reality, the beautiful and haunting Orchid. All this leads into a very dynamic and fast paced Die Young. The band fires on all cylinders and the song has it all, Geoff Nichols keyboards give the song that little extra and the fast tempo does not falter, one must only hear the songs ending with Ronnie screaming “Die Young…Die Young” over Tony simply just ripping and unbelievable solo to end it in dramatic fashion. The rather quiet audience bring the beast out for one more, a rather sedate sounding Paranoid with its wonderful Heaven And Hell reprise is a traditional way to end the show.
The packaging is typical Tarantura, gatefold sleeve with Ronnie on the front and Tony on the back, pictures of the ticket stub and master cassettes and a great picture of the band captured live in full flight with Ronnie having a great big smile, a remembrance to days past indeed. Another superb Peach recording and superb Tarantura release. With the recent announcement that Tony Iommi is battling cancer himself it makes documents like this all the more important and we must consider ourselves lucky to enjoy a small part of the huge legacy that the Black Sabbath family has given us, the fans. God bless Tony and many wishes for a speedy recovery.